ABBOTT: Louisiana’s Paid Media Fail Completely On Landrieu’s ‘Where Was Bill?’ Disaster

The big news yesterday in the blogosphere and on social media was Mary Landrieu’s epic fail with the rollout of her “Where was Bill?” runoff campaign theme. But if you depend upon what pundit C. B. Forgotston refers to as the Paid Media, you would never have known about it.

Here’s what happened. After Tuesday’s election, and Senate candidate Bill Cassidy’s tie vote with incumbent Mary Landrieu, the runoff campaign kicked off with Landrieu using the theme “Where was Bill?” Among the assertions Landrieu made was that Cassidey was AWOL after Katrina.

Speaking at a VA Medical Center construction site in New Orleans, Landrieu said:

“This is the time for Bill Cassidy to stand up and talk about his own pitiful record.” “And when Louisiana needed disaster aid, I was there.” “Where was Bill? And when this hospital needed a champion to build, and rebuild literally out of the rubble of Katrina and Rita, where was Senator Landrieu? Standing here and fighting. Where was Bill?”

See here the WWL-TV news story.

All the Paid Media outlets carried the Landrieu story – the Gannetoids, The TP, The Advocate, all the TV stations. But when Cassidy responded to Landrieu’s rant, the Paid Media was nowhere to be found.

Here’s what Cassidy replied via Twitter:

Here’s the story of Cassidy’s heroic post-hurricane efforts from a 2005 Money magazine article.

With a little help from a lot of friends, a doctor turned an abandoned K Mart into a field hospital for victims of Hurricane Katrina

By Ellen McGirt – November 1, 2005

“We had no way to predict what people coming out of New Orleans were going to need. My physician group didn’t have emergency preparedness responsibilities, so we made a lot of this stuff up as we went along.

The old K Mart we were to use had been abandoned for about eight years. It was filthy. There was no electricity, no air conditioning and no windows.

We had doctors and nurses step up to design the facility. I asked my friend the insurance guy to be the volunteer coordinator because insurance guys always know everyone. Around 150 people from two churches showed up with mops and brooms to help clean. An electrician got the power up in 24 hours. We created four to five wards holding 30 cots each.

Trucks arrived with $5 million worth of medical supplies, but no packing lists were included. We had I.V. bags but no poles. We had cots but no crash cart. Our volunteers found EKG machines, printers–someone even got a new Honda delivered. Physicians showed up from as far away as Iowa. By the time patients arrived, we had beds, lights, generators, computers and volunteers to play with children, provide transportation and reconnect families.

We saw fatigue, dehydration, emotional trauma and illnesses like diabetes and asthma made worse by the patients’ experience. The shelters wouldn’t take newborns, so we took mamas and their babies. It was the most amazing thing. We never got the volume we braced for, but we were ready–in 26 hours.”

So far this morning, we’ve found only one sentence in a Times-Picayune story about Cassidy’s reply. And that one sentence is buried in the eighth paragraph.

But that’s why we do what we do. After all, “What isn’t in the newspapers is often more newsworthy than what is.”

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